MM8444 - Advanced Nanoscale Surface Dynamic Processes


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Portfolio
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Portfolio 100/100

Course content

Surfaces are complex, dynamic molecular meeting places, where physical and chemical processes create a state of constant flux over a range of length scales. Friction for example causes huge energy losses (23% of the global energy loss), with significant economic and environmental consequences. Real surfaces are complex, not flat, not uniform, and their finite but small width gives rise to large fluctuations, with dynamic processes driving the evolution of complex 3D structures from atomic- to macro- scales.

This course deals with the nanoscale surface dynamic phenomena having implications for diverse disciplines with focus on real system functions: miniaturized electronics, biological surfaces, composite materials, or infrastructures. The main topics of study in this course are: adsorption, electrochemistry, surface transport, modelling methods, surface characterisation methods at nanoscale including spectroscopic and microscopic methods (like f.ex spectroscopy, AFM, QCM, XPS, FIB), nanotribology, lubrication and lubricants, surface chemistry.

Learning outcome


  • Surface definitions and understanding of what a surface is
  • acting surface forces/adhesion and surface roughness
  • how surface and near subsurface characteristics influence the surface performance and the bulk material performance
  • surface-environment interaction
  • surface dynamics (adsorption, diffusion, etc)
  • theoretical understanding and modelling of surface phenomena


  • Surface design
  • understanding the different impact of surface scales for the actual performance
  • select appropriate experimental techniques to study specific surface phenomena
  • use the acquired knowledge to assess how a surface will behave in real systems
  • learn how to use computational resources to model and understand surfaces
  • decide on experimental techniques for surface characterization depending on the surface application and performance challenge
  • based on surface characterization results find an optimization strategy for performance increase.

General competence:

  • Evaluate limitations of common approximations in the field of surfaces and interfaces
  • understand which nanoscale experimental techniques are suitable to study specific surface phenomena

Learning methods and activities

Lectures and group work.

Further on evaluation

Portfolio assessment is the basis for the assessment in the course. The portfolio includes 4 projects, each project has different deliveries and all four reports must be submitted to get a final grade (pass/fail): report for project 1 (25%), report for project 2 (25%), report for project 3 (25%) and a presentation for project 4 (25%). The entire portfolio will be evaluated as the average of the grade given to the 4 deliveries. In addition a seminar session will be arranged where students will learn how to prepare a scientific presentation on a topic of your choice. The seminar is optional, but if the students prepare the presentation, extra points will be given and will be added to the final grade. The dates for the deliveries will be announced in black board.

For the re-take of the portfolio assessment an oral exam might be arranged and it will comprise all the topics of the portfolio.

Required previous knowledge

All students taking this course must be enrolled in a ph.d program at NTNU or a different university.

Course materials

There is no text book covering all the topics of this course, therefore the learning materials will be the following: lecture notes and powerpoint presentations, selected research papers and selected book chapters.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
TMM4204 7.5 AUTUMN 2024
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2024

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Machine Design and Materials Technology - Mechanical Integrity
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Machine Design and Materials Technology
  • Materials Technology and Electrochemistry
  • Machine Design and Materials Technology - Surface Engineering
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Surface Physics
  • Nanotechnology


Examination arrangement: Portfolio

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Portfolio 100/100
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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